italki Language Challenge 2014: 9 Lessons In!

February 4th, 2014 | Posted by Jim in feature | Language Challenge | Motivation

For Week 3 of the Challenge, LindsayDoesLanguages gives us an update on how her Challenge is going.  She runs her own language learning blog where she blogs about her adventures learning and teaching different languages.  Below is her latest post that we felt we had to share with all your Challengers!  Reposted with permission.

Almost half way through the italki Language Challenge and I’m still alive! I haven’t been swallowed into the depths of German grammar never to return, nor have I been so overwhelmed I’m rocking back and forth in the corner. Nope. Still going, still learning and still loving it.

I made a rough plan of when I’d need to have lessons each week to achieve the challenge, fitting them around life accordingly. Unfortunately, Chinese New Year isn’t marked on my year view calendar and seeing as my German tutor lives in China, I suppose there was always bound to be some disruption. We seem to have come out the other end surprisingly not too far behind what I’d anticipated at this point, which is good news.

As for my German? I am feeling much more confident and prepared for my oral exam in May, which back at the start of the year was a big scary thought! The good news? I still have 11 lessons to go (1 later today – I’m not that far behind my schedule!) and I’m quite excited to see how I feel speaking German after these additional lessons. Stay tuned as I’ll be posting a video of my progress after all 20 lessons (eek!).

That sounds good! Can I do it?

Unfortunately, the deadline for this italki Language Challenge has passed but the site is open all year round with an abundance of tutors in a huge choice of languages. I’m even on there myself as an English tutor. 🙂

Great! So I just chat for an hour?

lindsay21You can make the lesson as intense or relaxed as you like it. If you’re after some hardcore grammar or starting from scratch, maybe a professional tutor would be the way to go. However, if you already have a sprinkling of the language you want to learn, there are also community tutors on offer, which is great if you need conversation practise to boost your language!

Is that all I have to do to become fluent?

If you’re a genius, maybe. But unfortunately, most of us need to use loads of different sources with different approaches to pick up a language to a good level – books, CDs, apps etc. Although, many polyglots, including Benny Lewis (who knows a thing or two about learning languages!), swear by speaking the language with a native speaker as soon as possible to get ahead.

How can I make the most of italki lessons?

I’d recommend using Anki to learn vocabulary. If you have this open in the background whilst you’re with your italki tutor, you can quickly and easily add any new words to your learning list!

Also, italki always recommends that you write a Notebook entry after each lesson to reinforce what you’ve learnt. I’ve never personally done this (oops!) but whether or not you write it on the Notebook page for natives to correct or in your own private notebook, it will definitely help you to revise what you’ve just learnt.

Most importantly is probably when and where you do your lessons. I’ve already written about the benefits of taking a lesson in a public space, but sometimes being on your own in a quiet space can be just as effective. Try both and see what works for you. Also, take time to decide whether you are more alert in the morning, the evening, on your lunch hour, at weekends. Take advantage of this and plan to have lessons at your most productive time when possible.

I hope these tips have been useful for you! Are you taking the italki Language Challenge? Or have you been tempted to try italki after reading this post? I’d love to read about your progress in the comments below!

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  • Erica

    Lindsay is a great English tutor. Her class is always helpful and professional. Always patient, punctual. She is also a very talented language learner herself. Muti language speaker. Impressive!